Champagne sailing at Emsworth Slipper – Photo Credit Jo Valentine Howwhatwhere

 David Valentine (GBR66) from the host club reports:

Emsworth Slipper SC – Devoti D-Zero Open Meeting – 18 April 2015

A sunny though breezy day met the intrepid 17 D-Zero’ists at Slipper, and after rigging in a sheltered NE at the club, set sail and quickly picked up speed heading out for the race course. Trolley Dolly Rodney from Suntouched ably assisting all to get away quickly.

First race, a trapezium with 2 laps, with a punchy tide driving the Zeros from right to left down to the pin end, causing the early arrivals to run deep or quickly round, Gun, and a couple OCS. Tough upwind though with a tidal drift, able to close reach to 1st mark, tight rounding, to 2nd and big bearaway with the D-Zero tearing off down the course to a big gybe and a reach to the last mark. The Zero so stable compared to its predecessors comfortably taking everyone round in increasing breeze. 1- Stuart Jones, Datchet, 2 – David Summerville, Grafham, 3 – Tim Weeden, Emsworth Slipper / Thorney Island

Photo Credit Jo Valentine Howwhatwhere

Race 2 underway quickly, same course, though a pin end move due to wind shift and 2nd mark to help avoid the cruiser moorings on bearaway. Clean start, though catching some that had seen a port bias only to be caught out by a wind shift back to the Committee Boat. Short starboard tack onto port using tide to drive to 1st mark. Breeze 16-20 knots now and increasing still NE. Lots into top mark at same time, new bearaway to 2nd, though less nosedives and lots of acceleration, wow these are fun ! Plenty of overtaking attempts, gybe, fast reach, tight tack and round for a 2nd time. 1- Dan Holman, Netley 2-Tim Hulse, Ullswater, 3-Russ Hopkins, Tewkesbury

Race 3 started quickly with a general handicap running first sequence, good race team on Committee getting things going, same course though 3 laps to stretch the boats and muscles. Less tidal drift, more breeze 18-24knots. Clean start, what a well behaved bunch of sailors, hard work close hauling to 1st and speed and smiles on the reach and bearaway downhill to some super fast gybes. Quite a few place changes over 3 laps. 1-Dan Holman, Netley, 2-Tim Hulse, Ullswater, 3-David Summerville, Grafham

Photo Credit Jo Valentine Howhwatwhere

Race 4 with a D-Zero start only, trapezium with an extra loop halfway 1 lap. Breeze steadying at 18knots. A couple of front runners forgot the loop and headed for the original 1st mark and suddenly realised though a bit late and others poured in. Change of leaders again and through the fleet proving weight ranges and abilities across boat work well. 1-Tim Hulse, Ullswater, 2-Dan Holman, Netley, 3-Russ Hopkins,Tewkesbury

The Race Team and D-Zeros decided 4 races were enough and headed for home, having fun close reaching back to Slipper. Prizes sponsored by Suntouched Sailboats for all racers.

Overall winners 1-Dan Holman, 2-Tim Hulse, 3-Stuart Jones.

17 at least will be back to Emsworth Slipper next year and quite probably more !

Toby Peacock (GBR110) reports:

It was with nervous excitement that I set off at 6.30 in the morning (on the weekend for goodness sake!) to race against a bunch of sailors I had mostly never met in a place I’d never heard of. Would I regret the early start, the decidedly fresh forecast, the reality of sailing on the sea and be humiliated by a bunch of overly fit and confident sailors who had an unfair amount of natural talent?

The clear blue skies as I turned on to the M27 were promising and then turning off to Emsworth revealed an idyllic small town with the sea in its DNA, a picturesque millpond and beautiful sailing club. Things were looking good.

The launch area was flat calm and sheltered from the breeze, making setting off child’s play. It was made even easier by the trolley dolly service kindly provided by the host sailors. I slip a chocolate bar into my buoyancy aid pocket and launch next to a former Laser national champion who is taking a banana with him. I watch as he then had to jump out and start again after getting caught in irons in a foot of water. “Ha!” I thought smuggly. “Even I can do that. Do they teach you nothing in squads?”. I then beat said champion in the race out through the moorings to the start line.

Confidence was now sky high. Seventeen D-Zeros lined up in champagne conditions, some out for just their first or second sail in their new boat. First start, the line seemed fairly unbiased to me but the committee boat end was crowded. I went for the quiet life and started at the pin. Good start, carried on left for a couple of minutes and tacked. Ah. I hadn’t realised the beat was so short – I’d overstood the mark by 50m. Hey ho, at least I’d got a score on the board and there were plenty more races to go. Second race, again I went for the deserted pin end. Decent start, decent first lap and then a lesson I never learn. Don’t tack with the mainsheet wrapped around your ankle. A quick swim sees me in last, but a couple of wild gybes up ahead see me catch up the back of the pack.
Third race I decide to start with the bunch. To my amazement I am nearer the front than the back and manage to avoid any big errors. A poor mark rounding from the boat ahead invites me to squeeze in on the final leg, but I’m pipped by a nose at the end.

I open my chocolate whilst waiting for the fourth start. This proves trickier than expected and after another quick swim I discover that salted Dairy Milk isn’t that bad. An easy peel banana may have been a better bet, but where do you stow it? Perhaps this is what the squad system teaches? The fourth race sees a change of course and some tasty gusts. I stay out of trouble and find myself closer to the front than the back again. My hand is beginning to cramp now though, so I am relieved when we head back in, the fifth race called off.

Having no sense of direction, I follow the fleet back to Slipper sailing club. Trying to look cool I lower the sail whilst someone kindly fetches my trolley. Wondering how I roll the sail in one hand and hold the boat in the other, I am joined by a man in a Team GBR top. I get the impression this isn’t just brand name, but that he is a Good Sailor. He offers to roll the sail for me and then helps me pull the boat up beach. So now I know. This is what the squads teach – sportsmanship.

A hot shower, a mouth wateringly splendid ‘D Zero’ cup cake, pack the boat up and prize giving by early afternoon. Prizes included a bottle of wine and a clew strap for every competitor, courtesy of Suntouched Sailboats. I head home in time for tea. As I pull on the driveway I notice the neighbours have cut their grass. I have a dandelion standing proud on an unkempt lawn. Ah well, it’s just a sign that I had better things to do! This morning my legs ache – but in that satisfying kind of way that means I still can’t mow the lawn.

And now I’m analysing, plotting, planning. Next time my friends, next time…

Many thanks to Emsworth Slipper SC for being such excellent hosts and to all who entered for making it so worthwhile.

Full Results:

Pos Sail No Name Club R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Nett
1 53 Dan Holman Netley SC 6 1 1 2 10 4
2 130 Tim Hulse Ullswater SC 4 2 2 1 9 5
3 115 Stuart Jones Datchet SC 1 7 4 4 16 9
4 132 David Summerville Grafham Water SC 2 4 3 11 20 9
5 119 Russ Hopkins Tewkesbury SC 5 3 5 3 16 11
6 156 Kerry Morgan Hillhead SC 8 5 7 7 27 19
7 113 Tim Weedon Emsworth Slipper/Thorney Island 3 10 9 8 30 20
8 123 Graham Cooper South Cerney SC 11 6 10 5 32 21
9 110 Toby Peacock Chew Valley 10 14 6 6 36 22
10 105 Dave Woods Rossendale Valley 7 8 8 9 32 23
11 66 David Valentine Emsworth Slipper 9 11 11 12 43 31
12 148 John Crook Baywater SC 13 9 18 DNF 10 50 32
13 138 Simon Boylin Emsworth Slipper 14 12 13 13 52 38
14 106 Ian Walker Saltash 12 15 12 18 DNF 57 39
15 145 Simon Robinson Emsworth Slipper 15 13 18 DNF 14 60 42
16 133 Jez Adams Emsworth Slipper 16 18 DNF 18 DNF 18 DNF 70 52
17 121 Scott Derham Thorney Island SC 17 18 DNF 18 DNF 18 DNF 71 53